Business storytelling is a versatile tool that’s useful to connect with customers, build brand loyalty and convey important messages. Nowadays, it’s essential to tell compelling stories that capture the attention of potential clients and set you apart from your competitors, and this is something that can be achieved through different media, such as written communications or photos.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of storytelling in business and how you can maximize this strategy.
What Is Business Storytelling?
Business storytelling is the art and science of using personal stories, brand stories or business narratives to convey an important message to grab your audience’s attention. Storytelling in business can help create an emotional connection with your customers, and it will allow them to understand who you are, what your values and mission are, and how your journey as an entrepreneur has been.
These stories can be told through written narratives, videos and photos in your business communications, or they can be told through non-traditional media, such as podcasts and social media.
If you want to use storytelling for a marketing campaign or to create a brand identity, I have some recommendations for you:
Know Your Audience
Knowing your target audience is key to creating compelling stories that resonate with them. You need to take into account their needs, values and interests to be able to tailor a story that can appeal to them.
Keep It Simple
The best stories are usually easy to understand and straight-to-the-point. Avoid using complex language that may confuse your audience. Furthermore, simple stories are easier to integrate into marketing campaigns and social media posts. Keeping your stories concise and simple is a great way to convey complex ideas in a way that’s relatable, engaging and easy to remember.
Being sincere with your true brand identity allows you to build trust with your customer base, which leads to brand loyalty, increased customer engagement and sales.
New and repeating customers are able to tell when a business is being insincere in the messages they share, especially when the actions of the business differ greatly from the messages it’s spreading. Stay true to what your business is and what you want it to be, and you’ll see how your customer base grows organically.
The Importance of Business Storytelling
Great business storytelling is as essential for small startups as it is for big companies. Business storytelling is a powerful way to create a strong brand reputation from the get-go. The power of storytelling in the business world can be felt in several aspects:
Stories Create Emotions
A good story can help your audience connect with your brand by tapping into universal human experiences such as love, loss and success. An emotional story with a main character your audience can relate to can create a deeper emotional connection and increase their engagement with your brand.
Stories Impact the Bottom Line
People are more likely to buy something if they can associate it to a compelling narrative. Therefore, great storytelling can be used to drive sales and increase revenue as part of marketing campaigns. It’s a great way to keep your customers and stakeholders happy.
Stories Are Easy to Remember
Using storytelling techniques such as repetition, vivid imagery and clear story structure, you can create a memorable story that will stick in the minds of your potential and current customers.
Using catchy taglines that capture the essence of the story, or using good photos and videos with a consistent style that can be easily associated with your brand is going to make it easier for those stories to stay in people’s minds for a long time.
Stories Help Your Brand Stand Out
In a crowded marketplace, good storytelling will differentiate your brand from its competitors by creating a unique identity. All the great brands have something that sets them apart from the rest, they have an essence that represents them in all their marketing materials.
If you want people to quickly associate images or stories to your products or services, you need to have consistent narratives that align with your industry and that are different from the narratives your competition is using.
Stories Help You Build Trust
Storytelling skills are powerful tools for building trust with your customers. You can achieve this by sharing case studies about real people who’ve had positive experiences with your brand.
Potential customers need to see that people like them are benefiting from your products and having great experiences with your brand before committing to your products, and sharing these stories gives them exactly what they need.
Stories Drive People to Take Action
Great stories inspire and challenge people to take the next step, which could be making a purchase, signing up for a service or joining a cause. Plenty of people have a hard time making the decision to buy something, and a compelling narrative surrounding the brand or product may be the small push they need to pull the trigger on that decision.
How Do You Tell a Business Story?
The art of storytelling can be quite tricky to master, especially if this is your first time doing it with business purposes. Here are some steps you can follow to make this process easier:
Pick Your Story Idea
Your first step should always be to pick an idea that aligns with your brand identity and the message you want to transmit. Some ideas you could use are:
- Customer success stories: For example, you could tell the story of how your business helped optimize the processes of a business that was struggling in dealing with outdated technology and slow internet speeds. In these types of stories you can add direct statements from the customers involved in the story.
- The process of creating a new product: Launching a new product is an exciting time for any company, and you can involve your customers in this excitement by letting know how this product came to be, from the very beginning, when it was just an idea, to the addition of the final details. This creates a sense of anticipation and wonder around this new product.
- The history of your brand: The best way to allow people to form a bond with your brand is to tell the story of its conception and everything you went through to make your project come to life. The more relatable it is, the more people are going to have an emotional connection with your brand from learning about its history.
It’s fundamental to choose a story that’s relevant and interesting for the people you are trying to reach.
Have a Good Narrative
Compelling business stories are made of good narratives. Your narrative needs to have elements your audience can relate to, such as challenges and triumphs, to make the story more engaging.
Bring Your Story to Life in the Right Format
When choosing the format you are going to use to present your story, you have to consider the types of media your target audience uses the most, as well as the tone you want to set when telling the story. Every story is not created the same, and while some may be perfect for written narratives, others may be better suited to be told through photographs or videos.
Integrate Your Brand’s Core Message
Every story your company tells should align with your brand’s core message and value. You need to make sure that your stories reinforce your brand identity, and highlight the benefits of your products and services.
Get Customers Involved
Using your customers as characters in your brand stories, or finding ways to make them see themselves in your narratives, will create a bond between your brand and its customers.
Share Your Story
Once you have your story ready to go, you can share it on any platforms you like. Remember that you have to consider which media platforms are used the most by your target audience to maximize your resources.
What Is Storytelling Photography?
Storytelling photography involves capturing images that convey a message or emotion related to your business. This form of photography can create a visual narrative that helps your audience understand your brand and connect with your message.
You can tell a story with multiple images or just by using a single image. Since photos often don’t provide as much information as a written narrative could, photos can be used to ignite the customer’s imagination or they can be used alongside a written narrative to tell a more detailed story.
How to Use Photos for Business Storytelling?
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for businesses to use photos as their primary storytelling method. Photos can be shared quickly on all kinds of platforms, and they don’t need to keep someone’s attention for a long period of time in order to transmit their message. Here are some tips you should follow to make the most out of the images you use in business storytelling:
Know Your Story
To use photos effectively in business storytelling, you need to know which message you are trying to convey and what emotions you want to evoke. You need to have a clear direction before you move on to a photoshoot.
Choose a Photography Style
Select a photography style that matches the tone of the story you inted to tell. If you want to tell an intimate story, a close-up portrait will be more appropriate than a landscape shot.
Add Symbolism to Your Photos
Integrating symbolism into your photos can help convey a deeper meaning than they would have otherwise. This can also make it easier for your customers to understand your message.
Structure Your Narrative
Even when using photos to tell your story, your narrative should have a clear beginning, middle and end, and the photos you use need to show that. A directionless story can be confusing, and it could harm your brand instead of helping it.
Creating unique images will make your brand easily identifiable, and it will make it stand out from the crowd. So, don’t be afraid to deviate from the norm to obtain photos that truly represent your business.
Working with a professional photographer can make this process much easier for you, and it can ensure that your photos are high quality, align with your brand identity and effectively tell the story you want to convey.
You have worked hard to create a great business, let me help you tell your story. I’m Ivan Martinez, a professional photographer with over 20 years of experience in business photography.
Learn more about my business photography services.